Ben's Cream Cheese has a bit of a cult following in New York. Food writers love it, Murray's Cheese shop (the city's temple to all things fromage) stocks it, and the good bagel shops swear by it. No one knows exactly how they do it -- the owners keep the recipe a secret -- but according to a recent article,
The real secret is basic freshness. They use dairy products delivered directly from upstate New York farms. They decline to add preservatives, because their cheese shouldn’t take up permanent residence in the back of one’s fridge; it is meant to be eaten soon. “We have nothing in stock,” Simon [Friedman, the son of the owner] said. “We only produce the orders we get in.”
Low inventory, producing to customer pull. . . It's not light (or lite) cream cheese. It's lean.